WASHINGTON CH — A Columbus man accused of almost striking a deputy with a stolen “Meals on Wheels” van while leading deputies on a high-speed chase has been indicted on two felony counts.
Franklin D. Scales III, 41, was arraigned in Fayette County Common Pleas Court Monday on charges of failure to comply with the order or signal of police, a third-degree felony, and receiving stolen property, a felony of the fourth degree. On the failure to comply count, the grand jury also specified that the “operation of the motor vehicle created a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property.”
Scales filed an affidavit of indigence setting forth assets, earning and expenses. The court found that he is entitled to appointment of counsel, and appointed Susan Wollscheid as his attorney.
On the morning of Dec. 12, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a suspicious vehicle on the rear parking lot area of Love’s Travel Center at U.S. 35 and Interstate 71. According to the caller, a man was outside the vehicle removing the license plates.
Deputies Andrew Parks and Jon Campbell arrived and found the vehicle, described as a white cargo-style van, with a male inside. The suspect was later identified as Scales.
As deputies attempted to make contact with Scales, he placed the vehicle in drive and fled, nearly striking Parks, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Scales also reportedly struck a parked semi tractor-trailer as he departed the lot of the business.
Parks and Campbell returned to their vehicle and gave chase as Scales drove onto Garringer-Edgefield Road and turned eastbound on State Route 435. He then entered I-71 South, traveled for a short distance and then drove onto the highway median, turning onto I-71 North, according to Stanforth.
The pursuit continued on I-71 North where Scales exited onto State Route 435 and continued east before entering the US 35 bypass. Scales was stopped and taken into custody without incident on US 35 near State Route 435 by deputies and members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
During the investigation, deputies discovered that the vehicle Scales was driving was a “Meals on Wheels” van that had been reported stolen to the Dayton Police Department just prior to deputies responding to the suspicious call.
The jury trial for Scales, who is being held in the Fayette County Jail, has been set for March 7.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica